Disruption, Suppression, Disturbance tactics

Integrated Offender Management UK (local copy) similar concept to Offender based Policing (US) has this worrying tidbit from concerned police officer:

You’ve got to balance it against their human rights as well because if we say ‘ok this person is a non statutory prolific offender and we’re going to visit them every day for the next three months’ if there’s absolutely no intelligence or no indication that they’re committing crime you can’t really say that that is proportionate.

How it works in practice (archive.org):

POLICE are targeting the homes of persistent offenders in a bid to drive down crime.Cops are targeting known offenders in Dewsbury and Mirfield on a daily basis with the aim of keeping them on the straight and narrow. More than 20 repeat offenders, known in police jargon as ‘red nominals’, are currently subject to the so-called ‘disruption visits’ across Kirklees. Neighbourhood Policing Teams call at the homes of the criminals – sometimes up to twice a day – to check what they are up to, and who they are associating with.Information on the clothes they are wearing and the vehicles they are driving is also then fed into the police intelligence network. The scheme is being co-ordinated by the Kirklees Integrated Offender Management Unit and as well as the police other agencies are heavily involved, including the Drugs Intervention Project (DIP), the Probation Service, Lifeline, Job Centre Plus and housing agencies

Safeguard Children and Young People from Sexual Exploitation (local copy) report gives more info about disruption targeting and practices. In targeting business practices it’s easy to make connection to third party policing doctrine:

If you are aware of a hotspot, say a particular hotel or café, you can educate the staff. “Are you aware that [this area] has a particular problem  with adults taking advantage of young people? People are using your premises and so you can help us to stop that.’ In some areas hotels and taxi offices have been provided with information about exploitation: ‘not accusing them, but the approach was this is the sort of thing that happens, if you know about it, let us know.’

Investigating Burglary: A Guide to Investigative Options and Good Practice (local copy) disruption tactics takes comical turn:

An important aspect of targeting offenders is their arrest and conviction for burglary offences, but evidential limitations mean that this is not always possible.Consider sending persistent offenders Christmas or birthday cards as a reminder of police attention;

UK also created restricted Police OnLine Knowledge Area – POLKA, sort of online forum where police will be able to share knowledge, best practices and crime fighting tactics. Now lets look at US Gang Unit tactics to target suspected gang members by using suppression and psychological warfare methods. This is from the book called “Into Abyss” (or local pdf copy here) 2002 by Mike Carlie. The description of endless cycle is interesting:

This tactic is more significant than it first appears. I will discuss the premise this is founded upon. Citizens with information or concerned about gangs were directed to me. I often arrived at work and found thirty to forty voice mails on my telephone. I listened to their messages then contacted those with the most promising information. All the messages with potential gang information were forwarded to our department’s Crime Analyst. She sorted through and summarized their content then provided a report with the most significant information underlined. I distributed the reports to the rest of the gang unit. The officers then starting driving by the locations from which the calls originally came and wrote descriptions of vehicles in the vicinity, their license numbers, etc. I contacted the citizens discretely and provided them with the cellular phone and pager numbers for my unit’s officers. That way the citizens would not get the normal run around by calling 911. The citizens became our eyes and ears. We had so few officers that this was a necessity if we were going to be effective. When citizens called and got immediate service they were happy. Since we started showing up at just the right time (when trouble was brewing), the gang members thought some of their cronies were snitching on them. This sometimes caused distrust and dissention – they never really knew who they could trust. When we were alerted that something was going on, we moved into the area wearing our POLICE vests, jackets, and insignia. We stopped cars using our red lights, and talked to interested people in the area. They were possible future information sources. The troublemakers thought “Holly cow the cops are all over us – they know what we are doing!” Hopefully they would move to another area then it would take a few months for the new neighbors to identify the trouble makers and the process would start again. (Personal correspondence, police Lieutenant, department gang unit, November, 2001)

Same report officers talking about psychological tactics trying to induce paranoia:

Some gang unit officers attempt to instill paranoia in gang members’ minds in hopes of turning gang members against one another. A gang supervisor told me “Sometimes I get information about gang activity from local residents. I may use that information and, if it leads to arresting a gang member, he’ll say ‘How’d you know about that? Who’s been talkin’ to you?’ Then I tell him ‘I have snitches. You know that. Do you really know your friends?’ Then he starts getting paranoid and starts wondering which one of his own are talking to the police. It works. We keep them off balance like that.” That’s a form of psychological warfare. Field Note: A gang unit member said “Sometimes I get dropped off in an alley, behind some gangster’s house or where there’s some gang activity taking place. The other officers drive up in front of the house, maybe slam on the brakes and make a little noise.Then they throw the car door open, I run from behind the house and jump into the car and we take off. Scares the hell out of ’em! They get paranoid thinking that cops are hiding everywhere. ‘Hey, look up there. Inside that street light! I see a camera. They’re watchin’ us from everywhere!'”

It’s ironic since this report in 2007 on gang suppression (archive.org) tactics says that such measures fail to solve crime could worsen problem. Strange secrecy surrounding gang units:

The absence of strong departmental oversight and the physical separation of gang units from the rest of the police force — three of four units operated from “secret” off-site facilities that were known only to gang unit officers — contributed to a “decoupling [that] led gang unit officers to isolate themselves from the rest of the police organization and from the community and its citizens.” Although gang units are supposed to afford an opportunity for officers to develop specialized expertise, the authors found that the officers were poorly trained and had little direct exposure to gang members: an average of just one to three contacts per eight hours worked.

Estonians (link siseministeerium.ee/2766/ has been removed no alternatives available – it’s ironic that estonians are such great leaders in information technology and still fall for modernized ancient orwellian methods of information destruction. Probably North Koreans are less orwellian in this department.) also adopting disruption tactics or measures, but they call them “disturbance tactics”. Maybe something got lost in translation, maybe they felt that its more appropriate title for such operations:

In the middle of November a new tactics of maintaining law and order was implemented in Tallinn and this concerns the increasing of the number of street guards in Tallinn, the application of the disturbance tactics of criminals which has been internationally used, paying more attention to the lawbreakers who are foreigners and controlling the legitimacy of pawnshops-purchasing agents.

US GOP senator William Saxbe warned (archive.org) about such tactics 40 years ago:

A more recent example are the intelligence/investigative programs that develop tactics of disruption; national security can be protected without such practices. Ways are needed to enforce laws without violating standards of decency and fairness. All of us with criminal justice responsibilities need to examine and reexamine every aspect of our work for both legality and fairness. Our measure should be fairness, justice, and effectiveness.


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